Promotional poster for Delicious in Dungeon featuring Laois, Marcille, Chilchuck, and Senshi
(Studio Trigger)

The Hidden Connection Between ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ and 2023’s Hottest Anime Makes So Much Sense

Baldur’s Gate 3 took the world by storm—and maybe the anime world, too. It’s got a quiet but strong connection to Delicious in Dungeon, arguably the hottest show in the anime world right now. It’s not a flashy kind of buzzy, though.

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It’s the kind of buzzy where fan art pours onto social media after every episode, and next to posts of people expressing they’re legitimately upset the season is about to end. It’s the kind of buzzy where if you ask an anime fan what show they’re watching, there’s an 85% chance you’re about to find yourself in a conversation about Delicious in Dungeon.

That’s exactly the situation I found myself in as a friend and I were gushing about the show, which is more often referred to by its Japanese name, Dungeon Meshi. Its world-building is slow, meticulous, and remarkable. Each of its main characters has such a strong personality that they seem to have remarkably equal-size fanbases. Every episode feels like a hug, even when it delivers an emotional gut punch.

“Yeah, it’s so funny the mangaka timed the whole series to be done by the time Baldur’s Gate 3 came out,” my friend laughed.

Wait. She what?!

The connection between Baldur’s Gate and Dungeon Meshi

To be cognizant of the gaming space in 2023 was to either be playing Baldur’s Gate 3 or to have to endure everyone else talking about they were playing Baldur’s Gate 3. The game, which is based on the ubiquitous tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragons, took gaming culture by storm, and then some. Baldur’s Gate 3 won Game of the Year at the 2023 Game Awards. It was a phenomenon.

Like BG3, you can tell at a glance that Dungeon Meshi is influenced by Dungeons & Dragons. But in interviews, mangaka Ryoko Kui has made clear that she was heavily influenced by video games, and even played a bunch as research for Dungeon Meshi. So it’s perhaps more accurate to say that Dungeon Meshi is less directly influenced by the TTRPG Dungeons & Dragons and more directly influenced by Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2.

In fact, Kui loves Baldur’s Gate so much that she drew portraits of all the NPCs from both games back in 2020. This gesture is even better because there’s a mod in Baldur’s Gate 2 that allows you to actually use portraits like this in-game.

On her blog, Kui also wrote about playing Baldur’s Gate 3 in early access back in 2020. Fans knew how much she loved the series, which led to meme posts such as this upon the game’s official release in 2023:

The release of Baldur’s Gate 3 and the end of the Dungeon Meshi manga were just over a month apart in 2023. BG3 released in early August (depending on your system), and the final Dungeon Meshi chapter came out on September 15. Coincidence?! Many fans did not seem to think so. “Did Dungeon Meshi end because of Baldur’s Gate 3” is an actual thing enough people have searched in Google that it’s a recommended question when you search both together.

The answer is no, of course Kui didn’t cut her magnum opus short to play a game. At least … impulsively. The full answer may well be that Kui knew Baldur’s Gate 3 was coming and did her best to plan accordingly—in which case, I love this woman. She’s just like me for real.

Dungeon Meshi back into Baldur’s Gate

What’s so lovely about discussing the connections between Dungeon Meshi and Baldur’s Gate is that it’s a mutually rich relationship. Fantasy video games like Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 influenced Dungeon Meshi. Now, the Venn diagram of the community of people who love Dungeon Meshi and Baldur’s Gate 3 is more like a circle than not, which means there’s a rich fan culture of creating Dungeon Meshi characters in Baldur’s Gate 3.

It makes perfect sense that the relationship would be circular. Dungeon Meshi’s greatest strength is its characters, and while the tactical turn-based gameplay in Baldur’s Gate 3 is fun, the entire internet became obsessed with those characters, too. Plugging one into the other makes perfect sense. Now I want to play BG3 as Laois and completely ignore every horny comment my party throws at me. That sounds hilarious.

Too bad there’s not a cat-human hybrid race for Izutsumi. Or a cooking mechanic. But I guess we can’t expect a perfect 1-to-1 reproduction.

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.